Hello, friends! I’m back with more reflections from my Hawaii, a time when I learned things like…
- The Hawaiian alphabet only has 13 letters.
- A pineapple at the grocery store only costs $0.79, but a Fuji apple is $2-3. (Plot twist, Mainlanders! How ‘bout them apples?)
- How to surf and hula.
- There is such thing as a “banjolele,” aka a banjo-ukulele. (Santa, please take note.)
Aside from learning these fun factoids and newfound talents, I also discovered a lot about who God is and His relationship with creation. Like any good Baptist, I tried to condense my thoughts into 3 main points, but they truly fit into 4 steps. So stay with me to the end!
THOUGHT #1: I get to know God.
It doesn’t take a ton of these views to realize that the world we live in is so much bigger than ourselves. I remember standing on the shore of a black sand beach after a rainfall, watching waves crash into rocks and feeling the extremely powerful pull of the undertow as the water returned to the sea. Facing the forces of nature is incredibly humbling. From breathtaking views on a mountaintop to a colorful coral reef habitat under the sea, I was in awe of creation and the One who created it.
I get to know the God who made this?! I kept thinking. The One who raised this mountain 13,000 feet high and gave this gray fish neon fins? THIS is the same God who gives me strength and courage? Who calls me his friend?
THOUGHT #2: Other people don’t know God.
As I marvelled at THOUGHT #1, I was saddened when I thought about all of the people who do not know the one, true God who is so dear to me. One day we visited an ancient temple built by King Kamehameha in the early 1800s. I was surprised to read that the temple was still a place of worship where some native Hawaiians come to practice their religion. If you look closely at the picture below, you can see that people have placed necklaces and food on the ancient structure as an offering. Other locals, instead of worshiping ancient deities, revere nature itself in a spiritual, transcendental type of worship.
I thought of Acts 17 when Paul preached in the Greek Areopagus in Athens, a city filled with idolatry. He first acknowledged that the people were very religious, and he specifically recognized their altar “to the unknown god.” Then he said,
“So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. ‘The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth…’” (23-24).
That’s what I wanted to tell people. I know the God who made this, and He’s incredible! This leads to THOUGHT #3…
THOUGHT #3: God wants a relationship with those who don’t know Him.
If you continue reading Acts 17, Paul says that God made people “that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (27).
He’s not far from us! Isn’t that wonderfully comforting?
1 Timothy 2:4-5 says that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
We have one God and one Savior. God wants people to find Him through Christ. The Gospel is called the “good news” for a reason! And that’s not the end of the story.
THOUGHT #4: I get to tell people about the true God and His Son, Jesus!
Have you ever tried to convince someone to watch your favorite TV show or listen to your favorite band? (Next time you see me, ask me why I love Survivor or Lady Antebellum.) It’s not hard to get excited about something or someone you love!
In the same way, believers in Christ should be bursting with excitement to tell others about our amazing God. The Bible says we are ambassadors for Christ and ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). What does that mean? We get to help reconcile people to God by telling them the good news of Jesus.
So there’s my 4-step process of what God taught me in Hawaii. I hope that this week you will open your eyes and look for what the Lord is showing YOU in your life!